Spectators gathered on Clevedon seafront on Tuesday (8 December) as an Avon and Somerset police horse, previously known as LJ, was officially named after the Victorian town of Clevedon in Somerset.
The newly qualified member of the mounted section and his rider, Mounted Patrol Officer Trudi Wilsher, were joined by fellow stablemates Mike*, Mendip and Laddy* as he was presented with his new name by Head of Operations, Superintendent Mark Edgington.
With the Victorian pier providing a fitting backdrop to the proceedings, Supt Edgington said that Clevedon has already shown the characteristics needed to be a police horse.
“I would like to say a massive thanks to Trudi, Clevedon, and all of the team who put so much hard work and effort into training our police horses.
“Clevedon has already cut the mustard at large demonstrations this year, such as Greta Thunberg’s visit to Bristol in February and The Black Lives Matters protest again in Bristol in June.
“He’s already shown his worth, and it’s a real pleasure to be here and give him his official title.”
“Our horses repeatedly prove themselves to play an unmatched role in maintaining public order and major role in every single public order incident in Avon and Somerset in the last 30 years, helping the police contain and manage major incidents, protect the public and prevent injuries.
“In their daily role of walking the beat, community reassurance patrols and engagement they have a presence that cannot be matched by any other police unit. Few people bat an eyelid at the sight of a police car, but a police horse is an automatic head turner.
“They bridge the gap between our oldest traditions in the police and demonstrating our ability to integrate animals into modern day policing with impact.”
Clevedon arrived as a 5-year-old in August 2019. A Belgium Warmblood bred for show jumping, he proved too laid back for his intended career, but his relaxed attitude has proved an asset in his training to become a police horse.
Speaking about the duties Clevedon will perform as a police horse, Mounted Section Sergeant Ed Amor said: “Clevedon is fully-trained now and is performing excellently. He will take on all duties, from difficult football matches to school visits.
“He has the nicest nature, loves to be scratched behind his withers and will be a great ambassador for policing in our community.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens was delighted to welcome the mounted section’s latest recruit, saying: “I am delighted to officially welcome Clevedon to the mounted section. I have every faith that he will be a valuable addition to the team.
“Our police horses play a huge part in keeping local people safe, and I am confident that Clevedon will support our police officers in serving and protecting our communities.”
It is traditional for the mounted section of Avon and Somerset Police to name its horses after places or people who are important and significant to the force area.
Clevedon joins area-named police horses Blaise, Clifton, Mendip, Quantock, Somerset and Wellington. He will also work alongside Jubilee and Windsor (both of whom were named by Her Majesty The Queen during previous visits to Somerset).
“We’ve named him Clevedon as we recently moved our main base of operations here,” said Sergeant Amor.
“We train our young police horses around the town, and I would just like to say thank you to the people of Clevedon for their patience, as they sometimes get held up behind our young police horses as they’re training around the town.”
*Newest recruits Mike and Laddy joined Avon and Somerset Police in 2020 and have started training as police hoses but are yet to have their official naming ceremonies.